Federal funds may push aside gas tax bills
BATON ROUGE - As lawmakers gather at the capitol for fiscal session, two bills are expected to be heard regarding gas taxes.
"In Louisiana, we have a huge infrastructure problem and the problem is a lack of investment," Representative Jack McFarland said.
There are two bills filed in the current session. The first bill is by Representative McFarland to re-appropriate the 16 cents per gallon that drivers pay now, to a construction sub-fund of the transportation trust fund (ttf). That fund would solely dedicate those funds to roads not allowing DOTD to use it for salary.
The second bill by Representative Barbara Freiberg would gradually increase the tax every 2 years totaling in 24 cents per gallon by 2033
Louisiana has more than 14 billion dollars of proposed projects and maintenance they need to do.
"We do agree that we need a sustainable revenue stream, we can always use more money, but the timing and policy has to be correct,” Rodney Mallett with DOTD said.
Rep. McFarland said because of timing, getting these bills passed won't be easy.
"So this session is going to be a challenge. We know that we have a tremendous amount of federal dollars coming down, approximately about 3.2 billion coming to the state.” McFarland continued, "There's been some real interest in investing some of those dollars into our infrastructure.”
That along with 2 trillion dollars being discussed by the Biden administration and Congress, two factors that could table the bills.
"So it kind of dampened or hindered the movement for passing any tax for increasing revenue," McFarland said.
Until that money is allotted, DOTD says they'll keep looking for funding to work on the roads and finish those projects.